A ugly Nigel de Jong challenge overshadowed a lackluster performance for LA as the Galaxy limped to a 1-1 draw vs. the Portland Timbers Sunday night at the StubHub Center.
With Giovani Dos Santos returning to the lineup, it was perhaps cruel irony that Robbie Rogers suffered a hip contusion a minute into the game and had to be replaced by Rafael Garcia.
The first half was a wash as both teams traded half chances. Gyasi Zardes got the start up top and was an active figure, at one point outpacing center back Nat Borchers and drawing a free kick right outside the 18-yard box. Dos Santos on the other hand, starting behind Zardes in an attacking midfield role, was clearly rusty, struggling with his first touch and generally lacking match fitness.
Fanendo Adi got the visitors on the board first in the 52nd minute. With room to operate in the midfield, playmaker Diego Valeri located a streaking Adi on the right side of the box, and after engaging Rafael Garcia, Adi brilliantly nestled a low side-footed shot past the outstretched Brian Rowe into the net.
The goal woke up LA, who unleashed a barrage of chances but were unable to breach the Timbers net. The Galaxy blew an opportunity to level the match when Lletget squared to Magee centrally 12 yards from goal, but he badly flubbed the shot.
Tempers flared in the 73rd minute when Nigel de Jong stomped on Darlington Nagbe's ankle, causing the newly-minted U.S. international to crumple to the turf in pain as teammates on both sides exchanged shoves. Eventually Nagbe was placed onto a stretcher and was substituted.
It was a ugly, dirty challenge. Expect a multiple-game suspension.
Nat Borchers headed the ball into his own net to spare LA's blushes late, but with de Jong facing a certain suspension, the future for LA continues to look uncertain.